Combination treatment with PD1/PDL-1 inhibitors for sarcomas: state of the art, next questions

Curr Opin Oncol. 2024 Jul 1;36(4):269-275. doi: 10.1097/CCO.0000000000001050. Epub 2024 Apr 30.


Purpose of review: Only a small fraction of sarcomas exhibit recognized parameters of immune sensitivity, such as tumor mutational burden, PDL-1 expression, or microsatellite instability. Combined strategies aimed to modulate tumor microenvironment to increase the efficacy of PD1/PDL-1 inhibitors in sarcoma. Most explored prospective studies were based on combinations of PD1/PDL-1 inhibitors with antiangiogenics, other immune checkpoints, or chemotherapy.

Recent findings: Results on 6-month PFS rate, median PFS, and ORR in trials using PD1/PDL-1 inhibitors plus antiangiogenics ranged respectively as 46.9-55%, 4.7-7.8 months and 21-36.7%. In combination with other immune checkpoint inhibitors, the results of median PFS and ORR ranged from 2.8-4.1 months and 10-16%, respectively. In combination with chemotherapy, the best results were obtained with doxorubicin-based regimens compared to other agents. Duplet-based chemotherapy plus anti-PD1/PDL-1 obtained the highest ORR (56.2%) compared with doxorubicin (19-36.7%). Currently, the most robust predictive biomarker for anti-PD1/PDL-1 efficacy is the presence of tertiary lymphoid structures (TLS) with mature dendritic cells.

Summary: Even when direct comparisons between PD1/PDL-1 inhibitor-based combinations and single agents have not been performed yet in sarcoma, some combinations appear promising. Studies controlling heterogeneity by biomarker or histotype selection contribute to an increase in efficacy or knowledge crucial for future comparative trials.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols* / therapeutic use
  • B7-H1 Antigen* / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Humans
  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors* / therapeutic use
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor* / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Sarcoma* / drug therapy


  • Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors
  • Programmed Cell Death 1 Receptor
  • B7-H1 Antigen
  • PDCD1 protein, human
  • CD274 protein, human